Creating a world-class gym in Port Macquarie with the best facilities and most classes is something Gavin Wilcox is very proud of. The recently completed upgrade to the amenities within the gym, all the new equipment, growing classes and complementary services, such as physio/dietician support, are another feather in the cap. We caught up with Gavin about the journey in fitness and business.
Gavin, can you introduce yourself and tell us how long you have been a local, and also where your career in the fitness industry started?
I have been in Port Macquarie most of my life, and I attended high school here. If I think back to where my journey truly began, it was when I was a teenager, and the local gym offered me free membership, so I could train in exchange for cleaning the cardio equipment each week – so that’s what I did to get a start! I’ve loved working in fitness centres ever since.
It’s a story I like to remind new staff or people about – everyone starts from humble beginnings, and you need to be patient in growing into a career because it does take time to develop the skills you need. I’ve found that starting at the bottom is often the only way to truly develop all the skills you need to succeed and to really appreciate where you end up.
As a local business owner, you have succeeded in setting up an amazing business. What are some of the core foundations and values you set for yourself and YLFC when you went into this venture six years ago?
For me, I have always prided myself on doing the right thing and being honest – sounds a bit cliché, I know, but I honestly think that to succeed in business you must be honest with your customers and the community. Honesty and ethics in business can be as simple as only promoting what you have; we have a “what you see is what you get” culture, so when we say something is a $100 saving, that’s what it is – not a fluffed up sale.
I set out to create a fitness centre that suits people like you and I; it’s not about girls in leotards or huge guys anymore (in fact, we have around 70% female members and members from 16 years to 80 years of age) it’s about people competing with themselves only to live their best life. I also wanted to change how gyms traditionally interact with their members, and at Your Life, we constantly respond to feedback from our customers.
A couple of other things we really focus on are making people welcome; fitness can be a very personal and sometimes daunting journey to start with, and we aim to make every person feel comfortable at our centre.
Lastly is reinvestment – I truly believe with the amount of funding we put back into our centre and being independently locally-owned makes our centre the best value for money on the Mid North Coast!
Talk us through the three pieces of your world-class equipment you are most proud to have.
There are so many amazing things we have added over the last few years; I can barely keep up. Our treadmills are the best you will find in the country and definitely in Port Macquarie, with features including web browsing, Netflix, Foxtel and Spotify, plus virtual reality tours through countries all over the world! The treadmills have the smoothest platform available on the market, to help protect your joints.
I’m also really proud of our Functional Room; every time I think we have done enough, the team and I find another way to grow or improve this area. In the last year, we have doubled the amount of equipment and racks in just this area alone! We have the world’s greatest plate loaded hammer gear that works your body differently to standard weight machines; plus lifting platforms that professional athletes use in their training.
Two smaller non-equipment features we have introduced include environmental changes – the first is we operate without paper at reception (signing up all our members digitally) and second, one that we pioneered locally, where we installed bamboo wipes for cleaning our cardio equipment area, which are 100% biodegradable in our green bin!
In business, what are you most proud of?
My wife and I often talk about this. We set out at the start to change the fitness industry in Port Macquarie, and we certainly have done that. We were the first centre to bring the quality of equipment we have today in life fitness and hammer equipment to Port Macquarie, the first to offer so many of the services like virtual class styles and equipment our members love today!
One of the things we are also proud of is being able to give back. We sponsor so many local charitable events now each year, I have personally done Dancing with the Stars, which raised tens of thousands for cancer research, and regularly support a variety of fundraising efforts and our kids’ gymnastics club.
If you were to describe YLFC in three words, what would you say?
Can’t do it in three words, sorry. Probably our motto: Live your Best Life at Your Life!